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Sonoma Recap and Save the Dates

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Hi Wine Lover,

The Shall We Wine team is excited to share our monthly newsletter. Our goal is to introduce you to our favorite wines, winemakers, varietals, wine regions and places to buy and drink wine.


The Shall We Wine Team


Sonoma County is so rich in its diverse landscapes! The sheer fact that its nearly twice as large as Napa might help you imagine the abundance of styles offered throughout the region! Just as varied as Sonoma is as a whole, the experiences you can plan can fall at any high or low price point... and everything in between!

A few months ago a client asked me, “how often do you travel to northern California?” I was a little embarrassed to say that I had not been the California region in about seven years. Why? To be honest, my last trip to Napa/Sonoma cost me a pretty penny! The travel fees for air, hotel, car and meals where so high, that I categorized vacations in Napa/Sonoma as luxuries and opted to travel to other wine regions in the U.S. and abroad.

I was recently invited to an all-expense paid two-day training in Sonoma. I replied yes, before the invitee finished typing the email. After accepting, and booking my flight, I decided to extend my trip, and added two more days (on my own dime) to explore a more budget friendly side of Sonoma. Wait, is there a budget friendly side of wine country?

Check out my high/low list of Sonoma experiences - Baller or Budget, you too can enjoy life in the vineyards! For more photos from the trip, be sure to follow us on social media.


Where I Stayed:

High: Harmon Guest House (227 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448) – Located in the heart of the Mayberry-replica-flawlessly-manicured Healdsburg, CA. This hotel is fresh, ecocentric, luxe and modern. Decorated in, “locally-sourced art and fixtures.” Oh, this hotel is a haven for we minimalists! Marie Kondo would be proud, the whole damn experience brought me joy. Don’t miss the complimentary breakfast at their sister property H2 or the Vitamin C facial from the Spa at Hotel Healdsburg. Yup - this is for Ballers Only!

Low: Astro Motel (323 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404) – I spent two nights at this charming vintage motel, furnished in 1960’s furniture procured at auction. The Astro’s philosophy is that Sonoma County is not just for the 1%. They provide spacious, clean, artful and affordable rooms. There is a courtyard and lounge perfect for pre and post wine tasting gathering or sun worshiping. Bonus is the fresh pastries from Flying Goat Coffee for breakfast and the super helpful staff. Budget friendly with benefits!

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Where to Eat:

I had a list of “Cheap Eats,” but did not get to try all of them. It’s funny how you have no appetite when you’re paying! My philosophy is “sleep like a pauper eat like a prince"! I can feel my accountant’s piercing eyes.

High: Willi's Seafood (403 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448) – “East Coast and South America meet Wine Country.” Small plates, big price tag but yup... it’s worth the price! Save on breakfast and lunch and ball out at Willi’s.

High: Valette (344 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448) – Ok, this may sound expensive, BUT check out their $75 tasting menu plus $50 wine pairing! Seriously if you’re only going to have one meal in Sonoma, this is it!

High and Low: The Spinster Sisters (401 S A St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401) – They describe their menu as “Sonoma County Cuisine” I describe it as Haute Farm Tastiness! Fresh, inventive and flavorful, this is a don’t miss. On a budget, check out their breakfast and happy hour menus.

Low: Happy Hour at the Spoonbar (Harmon Guest House) – Simply put: $6 bar snacks, $6 wine, $6 cocktails and $2 oysters! Now, that’s ballin' on a budget!

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Taste Here:

Cāpo Creek Winery and Vineyards (7171 W Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448) – I had a true “wine country” experience driving the winding roads to visit my former International Sommelier Guild classmate turn UC Davis trained winemaker Mary Ross. The winery’s breathtaking view is the reward for maneuvering the narrow roads. I did not want to leave! Cāpo Creek is a “peaceful oasis” offering a different side of Sonoma wines by producing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Granache, Syrah, Viognier as single varietals and or blended. $35 Tasting and up.

Gros Ventre Cellars (8054 Fairplay Rd, Somerset, CA 95684) – Don’t miss this family-owned winery! Husband and wife team produce about 2,000 cases of wine from the West Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley and El Derado region. Check out Shall We Wine IGTV below in the "Drink This" section, for a video on my tasting experience! $25 Tasting and up.

Inman Family Vineyards (3900 Piner Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95401) – The secret is out that one of my winemaker crushes is Kathleen Inman. She had me at Sparkling Rosé and has maintained my adoration for the past six years with her brilliant Chardonnays, Rosé and Pinot Noir from the Russian River. $20 Tasting and up.

Iron Horse Vineyards (9786 Ross Station Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472) – I first met Joy Sterling of Iron Horse about twenty years ago when I worked for the distributor who represented her wines in Chicago. I admired her for her elegance, self-confidence, and that she is a writer. While in Sonoma, I had to visit and taste their prestigious sparkling wines, estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. $25 Tasting.

Ryme Cellars (6450 First Street Forestville, CA 95436) – Husband and wife winemaking team Ryan and Megan Glaab are on fire! They are exploring unique varieties such as Vermentino, Ribolla Gialla, Cabernet Franc, and others. Check out Shall We Wine IGTV below in the "Drink This" section, for a video on my tasting experience! E-mail for appointment and pricing.

Vision Cellars (Windsor, CA 95492) – A trip to Sonoma is incomplete without a visit with Mac and Lil McDonald. Vision Cellars is one of the few African-American owned vineyards. This award-winning winery produces delicious Pinot Noirs and offer down home hospitality. Call for an appointment and pricing.

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Beer and Cocktail Here:

Check out the Happy Hours for budget friendly options!

Low: Fern Bar (6780 Depot St Suite 120, Sebastopol, CA) 95472 – Focused on “garden to glass cocktails” this bar is just gorgeous! Bright, airy and comfortable. The moment you walk in, you know there’s some serious cocktailing going on!

Low: Bird and the Bottle (1055 4th St. Santa Rosa, CA 95404) – Mark and Terri Stark’s latest restaurant in Santa Rosa is a contemporary tavern meets food truck goodness! Belly up to the bar for cocktail yumminess paired with the fried chicken sliders!

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Bonus Love:

Cannonball (1290 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448) – A team dedicated to innovation, Cannonball has some impressive wines, spanning a diverse spectrum in terms of variety and price point. They source from particular regions throughout California, and have several offerings from their popular Cabernet Sauvignon, to Merlot, and to Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Dive in!



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Reader Inspiration in Healdsburg: This is #AuthorLife! Participated in an author Meet & Greet event at Copperfield's Books, sharing Searching for Cloves & Lilies: The Wine Edition to a crowd of new readers! Amazing.

Let's keep inspiring new readers in 2019!

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Save the Date - Thursday, April 4th - SoloCEO Chicago! Join me at The SoloCEO Summit to learn from experts and fellow solopreneurs, build a community of resources, and create an action plan for your future! Register now at! Save 10% Code: REGINE10

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Save the Dates - Wine & the Spirit Series - As you know, Shall We Wine has teamed up with Uncommon Ground for a series of events. The first event for Valentine's was a blast! If you missed out, there are more chances for you to participate. More details to come!

Sunday, May 26th - Samples & Samples with Derrick C. Westbrook
A Samples & Samples event in honor of Lauryn Hill’s Birthday, pairing wines with her music

Wednesday, August 14th - Food and Wine Cocktails
Our friends from Coquetel Spirits will partner with us to create unique wine inspired cocktails, paired with a delicious three-course meal.

Saturday, October 19th - Bubbles & Birds
Featured sparkling wine pairings for the fried goodness that is fried chicken!

Sunday, November 10th - Veterans of Music
Veterans Day weekend we honor Chicago Veterans of Music with a music & wine pairing event.


Save the Date - Saturday, March 23rd

Join us & Heartfelt Catering this weekend for a fun cooking and wine pairing party!

[Click here for more info & to purchase tickets]

You'll learn to cook the Heartfelt Way...

▪ Starting with fresh, quality ingredients
▪ Using herbs, spices and other natural ways to enhance the flavor of food while reducing fat, sodium & sugar
▪ Selecting wines that pair well with menu items
Starting with fresh, quality ingredients
Using herbs, spices and other natural ways to enhance the flavor of food while reducing fat, sodium & sugar
Selecting wines that pair well with menu items

This is all in a small, intimate environment. There will be approximately 2 hours of hands on cooking with discussion about wine pairing with the menu selection. We'll include a vegetarian, vegan and gluten free option in the menu - something for everyone!




Tired of hosting the same kind of events and looking for something to make them different?

Shall We Wine also plans experiences for corporate events! We work with our corporate clients to create wine, beer and spirit-focused experiences. These experiences include: wine dinners, wine tastings, team building "cocktail" exercises and more!

Just some examples of the upcoming themes we’re hosting:

15 Wines for Under $15

Mixology Class

Bourbon Basics




Enthusiastic about some of our picks on Shall We Wine IGTV for our Sonoma Recap! Interested to see what wines were chosen? Click below to watch and find out!

Ryme: Click to watch
Gros Ventre: Click to watch






So you know us for our pop up events, but did you know that our consultants host mini pop-ups every weekend at your local wine shop and/or grocery stores? Next time you're tasting wine at Binny's, Whole Foods, Mariano's or your local wine shop, ask the consultant if they are with Shall We Wine.

Sounds like a fun gig? We are hiring wine and spirit enthusiasts! Send your resume to and follow the link (in photo) to apply.

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Learn, Drink, Repeat!
The Shall We Wine Team

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